June 17, 2013

A Coach's Prayer

"Dear Lord,
I know that I've been given this ginormous job. I know they look to me for much more than PRs and high fives. Please let me be a role model and example for them of good character, a humble winner, a gracious loser. Please help me to encourage them and form them into team players, hard workers, and fine citizens. And please, oh please, dear Lord, don't let me screw this up. And ps, God, we really need some money."


My numbers seem to be getting bigger and bigger each year. I am currently responsible for training 87 people. And that is a very scary thing.

My youth team, WINGS, has 90 (??!!!) runners, 60 of which are distance runners. I'm not sure how it turned out that there are 2 sprint coaches and 1 distance coach, but I do know that something really needs to change for next year because even the best teachers of classroom management can't appropriately control 60  kids. Practices are actually pretty fun. I've got the cattle herding down to a science. I get the middle and high schoolers rolling on their workout; then I organize the little kids with some structured running. When everyone finishes, the older kids help with the younger kids play games, relays, etc.

Meets on the other hand pretty much make me want to pull out my eyelashes. Out of 90, 65 are competing in the meets. For two years the other coach and I have had this deal (and until now, it's worked well). He does all the "dirty work"- gets snacks and fills water coolers, sets up the tent, etc. I deal with the organization of little people- pass out bibs, pins, bracelets, show them where to check in, HELP them check in, and wait with them during the check-in process. And I will say this publicly about AAU officials- they STINK at working with children. You can't just bark and point at large groups of kids and expect them to listen. And they really need to take some tips from elementary teachers and start color coding things. It's far too chaotic, and most of you know how I feel about chaos. However, once the meet gets rolling, it is a blast to be a coach of 60 kids. To watch events and see your team basically dominate the meet. Yes, there is strength in numbers. Shameful admission- winning is fun, even if it isn't *actually* me, it's something I've been a part of. I love the look of success and satisfaction on kids' faces, or the look of surprise when they dominate an event. It's a very cool thing.

My XC team is up to 26 (!!!) I'm trying to be chill about it right now, but really I am TO.THE.MOON. excited about what I'm seeing with my XC team. It seems as though they DID actually follow their little off season training plan, putting us at a VERY nice place fitness-wise right now. And those 3 boys that I badgered all of track season to quit football and run XC? Well, they did, and they are fast. And some of the girls from last year brought a few friends. And now we're up to 26! Even my newest of runners ran 3 miles today without stopping- woot woot! I personalized their water bottles over the weekend, and you would've thought I gave them a million dollars. They were so excited! Aside from the team already being in decent shape and me seeing SO much potential in our season, these kids are what make the job for me. I love that we now have inside jokes, and that after practice, they like to hang out by my car and talk. I love that they stop by my house without notice, just to say "hey" on their way to or from the school. (I basically live behind the school.) They have a strong bond with each other, offering each other rides, encouragement, talking about life stuff with each other. They are TEAM. A year ago wasn't too far away, and I recall it being just a bunch of random teenagers that wanted to try running with a new coach. Truth- last year I tried to plan the XC meets around things *I* wanted to do and race. This year, I didn't even consider what I had going on, I planned the XC meets based on the best meets for our team. Heck, I even planned my WEDDING around XC.

Coaching sounds fabulous, doesn't it? Dream job, right? You know what's NOT a dream job? The fundraising. Mercy, I am so SICK of begging for money. Per usual, I already lined up our Friday nights at the Piggly Wiggly to bag groceries, but OH, I was able to move us up a notch and book two sessions at the Winn Dixie. LOL. I also am in the works of planning a Summer Track Series. I say that I am planning it, but really Kenny and Brad are telling me what to do, and I am listening. Haha. It's turning out to be really exciting, and will hopefully get us some more $. I got permission for our XC team to use the new track uniforms, but we will need to purchase some more since we have so many kids now. Woot woot! And the regular stinking cost of meets and travel. The school is pressuring me more and more to get my CDL and drive the bus myself. Clearly, they don't know what they're dealing with here. I can barely drive my little Honda, much less a big yellow cheese full of kids.

And... the real reason for this post is that I am procrastinating working in the yard. My yard boy, aka fiancé, is working like a dog right now and the one day he was free to do it this week, it rained. Boo. So, I'm about to set off with the push mower and weed eater. Ick.

Run Happy, friends!


  1. Anonymous6/17/2013

    You´re an awesome coach! You should be proud!

  2. It's such a cool thing to watch you as a coach grow and your team as well! Obviously your passion for the sport is contagious!

    There are big things around the corner for the Bears and WINGS-and anyone with good sense knows XC is cooler than football ;)

    You're doing beautifully, even if it sees challenging sometimes.

  3. You're a super achiever! What a huge group! I bet it warms your heart that they're doing so well. Good luck on the summer track series and fundraising.

  4. Sounds like a lot of responsibility- wow. You must have it down to a science. I am always amazed on how much you take on. And be sure to hold your own on that bus driving thing! No way should you have to do that too and it sounds kinda scary.

  5. Do you even show the kids any of the Flotrack stuff, I have just discovered it and find it so inspiring to watch those incredible runners working hard. Show them what they could become!!!! Just a thought.
    That is a lot of kids to control, good luck with that!!!! How's the wedding planning going?!

  6. You're such a great coach! Those kids are so lucky to have you!

    And I second Vicky...you should host a Track & Field championships viewing. Can I come? ;)